- Balance Bike Query
We had one for our son and it had no brake, he learnt to balance on it obviously but he also learnt that space was important as no brake meant more involvement “somehow” and I’m certain it’s helped, he now rides a proper bike and still dissent use his brakes, which is scary to watch as they hurtle off on gravel.
He bypassed the stabiliser stage and just went straight onto a little Bike.
A brake would hinder things and probably do you out of a few comedy momentsPosted 3 years agodabMember
Have a look at strider bikes tooPosted 3 years ago
I am looking to get my boy a balance bike for his 2nd birthday. I was set on the Specialized Hotwalk but have since come across Islabikes Rothan. They seem much about the same with the main sticking out difference of the brake on the Islabikes.
I have read a few forums about the for and against for a brake, and believe the Islabike used to come without a brake and only changed to fitted with a break in the last couple of years or so. I really cant decide between having a brake or not…has anyone one got any experiences of which is best, have you got one without a brake and which you got one with or the other way round you got one with a brake and think it would have been better without a brake.
ThanksPosted 3 years agoFunkyDuncMember
Jnr FD had a Ridgeback Scoot that has a rear brake. With a bit of instruction he used it instead of using his feet and wearing out shoes. I guess maybe it has helped now on a proper bike in knowing how much to use the brakes.
Plug – and its for sale on the classifieds at the min 🙂Posted 3 years agodirksdigglerMember
Get one with or with the ability to install a hand brake.Posted 3 years ago
Your 2yo will unlikely have the hand strength to operate till much later anyway so the presence of a brake now is beside the point.
You do however want to make sure your kid has grasped the hand brake concept before you let them loose on pedals.
Remember that from balance bikes to pedals is a very quick transition so being able to stop is a very important skill to develop as once you take away the ability for them to get their feet on the ground.
Plus on the upside, you’ll get to skip coaster brakes too.Harry_the_SpiderSubscriber
We’ve just sold on our Rothan. It was 4 years old and came with a brake. Can’t say that it made any difference what so ever to the way my kids learned to ride.
Key features that the Rothan has (can’t speak about the others):-
1. The seat can go very low.
2. It is light. Important as you will end up carrying it and the kid at times.Posted 3 years ago
My son has a Likeabike Jumper which is fantastic, but he started off on a Puky LRM which was also great and small for the tiny ones.
We did add a front brake to the Jumper (Likeabike sell one) and while it works fine it doesn’t really help on steep hills as the bike just tips forward – he can come down the same hills fine on his pedal bike using just a front brake as he can get his weight back.
I do feel that just having a rear brake on a balance bike will encourage kids to just use their back brake when they start riding a pedal bike and they won’t realise how much more control you have using your front brake. (or am I over thinking this…)Posted 3 years ago
Thanks for all the info and feedback.
It does seem to be a 50/50 out there for a brake or no brake, and the main point is with or without a brake it hasn’t stopped there progress at the next stage.
Had a look at the strider bike and it also looks good, and very light 2.9 compare too 3.4kg on the isla, I am still pretty set on the Isla or Specialized but will have a better look at strider again. I contacted my local bike shop who sell the Specialized and they think they can fit a brake if required down the line.Posted 3 years agoDibbsMember
I bought a Scoot for my grandson before he was two (he’s two and a half now). the rear brake was pretty stiff and lever was too far away from the bars for his little hands. I’ve sorted the problems as far as possible but he still isn’t ready for the brake yet, he stops well enough with his feet, he’ll use it when he’s ready.Posted 3 years agobigGMember
my 3 yo has an islabike with a brake, which she doesn’t use. She just dings her bell so folk get out of the way.
Another consideration of the islabike is the resale / trade in value. Well cared for islabikes seem to have a premium price in the 2nd hand market which makes the initial investment not as steep as it seems.Posted 3 years agowonkey_donkeySubscriber
my girl had a Rothan with a brake – she learned to use it. She now rides a pedal bike with brakes and i can shout to her and tell her to brake – she’s fine with it.
To be fair though they don’t go so stupidly fast they cant stop by putting their feet down anyhow.
But its another skill to learn.Posted 3 years agoLucasSubscriber
Rothan with brake here, its just coming to the end of the 4 years use by 2 boys. When they started on it they never used the brake but didn’t go too fast. When they get more confident I think its good to get them used to the brake as they can get up to some pretty fast speeds.
Yesterday we were all out on the bikes, I was riding on the road next to our 3 year old (him on the pavement) who had decided to go out on the balance bike, going downhill we were easily doing over 10mph. Doesn’t sound too fast but the little wheels start to get a bit of a speed wobble on at that point. I was glad to be able to shout for him to use the brake and him to know how to use it (I thought it was all going to end pretty badly but it was fine).
Also once they get a peddle bike they just jump on and go, it’s good for them to have learnt how to use a brake before that first time with peddles.Posted 3 years agotomlevellMember
Removed until they were 3 ish and were able to understand what it’s for and use it.
Doesn’t hinder them in going fast (if they are that way inclined) and out of control but adds skidding to the repertoire and for moving onto using brakes on normal bike.
In no way essential but handy if your toying between that level of pricing.
2 children skidding down one of the big lumpy dusty fireroad descents on Rothans near me was ace.Posted 3 years agotraildogMember
Puky are another good brand of balance bike and you can get a small one.
Isla keep their value well, so if it’s not going to get battered then that might be a factor. I don’t think the brake is a big thing, it might help them learn brakes when they get older but they’ll pick it up eventually.
Balance bikes are brilliant, my lad is riding a proper bike now and has never had stabilizers. They also allow you to walk at a reasonable speed which is not something which happens often with toddlers.
I honestly think you can over think these things though. I’d recommend getting something a good price in one of brands recommended by people.Posted 3 years agobrassneckSubscriber
No brakes on a HotWalk, all three of my boys graduated from that too pedal bikes @ 3 and a bit (the bit being variable), all figured out brakes easily, including the coaster brake on the 16″ (which is way more effective than little hands and callipers, hence bigger skids, hence lots of determined practice done :-))Posted 3 years agoJef WachowchowMember
My 2 1/2 year old has a Zooom.
He has had it since he was 2 and loves it. It has a rear brake but he is only starting to become aware of the benefits as he can’t comfortably reach the lever. This should improve in the next 6 months I reckon.
He does noticeably back off and potter down hills when they get ‘too steep daddy!’ and I am hoping that the rear brake will aid development once mastered.Posted 3 years agochompMember
Both my kids used a Rothan without a brake and never had an issue getting the hang of brakes when they moved to a bigger bike.
Also as others have stated, the resale values of isla bikes can’t be overlooked. Think we lost about £10 over 4 years after buying ours 2nd hand. It was proper battered but still got over £65 for it.Posted 3 years ago
Thanks again for all the info and your own personal recommendations, to be honest I am now swaying more to the Islabike, mainly because the difference between that and the Specialized isnt a great deal, but least the isla has a brake if required, and he prob wont really use the brake at first and guess its good to have, I do like the fact the Specialized has somewhere to put there feet like one poster mentioned, do kids on the isla use the bars as foot rests?
Either way Im sure he will have lots of fun on either of them which is the main thingPosted 3 years agoGrahamSSubscriber
Rothan with brake here.
My four year old uses it a lot, mainly because we live on a hill!
I’m currently trying to teach her to feather it a bit, rather than just roll down the hill at warp speed then slam on the brake for a fifty foot skid at the bottom 😀
She managed her first over-the-bars incident yesterday after she twisted the front wheel sideways in a pothole. Properly scraped up her arms, shoulder, and hands. I felt really sorry for her… but also quietly proud. Another milestone reached 😆
do kids on the isla use the bars as foot rests?
Nah she just sort of lifts them up behind her.Posted 3 years agoLady GresleyMember
Stop being a brand snob and get any balance bike with a brake – the kid will love it anyway! Save the money for when they get a pedal bike that needs to be a bit lighter to actually pedal up hills. Kids just aren’t going to push a balance bike uphill for very far whatever weight it is! My nephew had some cheapo ebay buy and still used it after he was pedalling on a proper bike – until it finally fell apart after using it maybe once too often through muddy puddles in the field by his house.Posted 3 years ago
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